Facebook, Twitter will be the death of me yet
Sunday, March 02, 2014 1:07 AM
Recognizing that social media has essentially taken over the world — hey, it proved literally revolutionary in Egypt, didn't it? — I have concluded my funeral will be conducted through social media channels.
Sure, being a newspaper guy from the old days when Royal typewriters were the mainstay of any newsroom (and made really good weights for sending someone to the bottom of an ocean, they were that durable), I do hope my obituary will make print, but all else will take place through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and whatever the latest app might be.
My grandfather was a wise man. He held the belief that if you could count the number of true friends you have on just one hand you were indeed a wealthy person. But that was before Facebook, where I can count more than 500 friends. Isn't that great? Think of the convenience for them if they do not have to take time out from work, fly across country or around the world to get to my service.
I'll grant you it's not all that personal to have funeral services YouTubed and posted on Facebook, and I'm a bit concerned how many "likes" I'll get when my status is posted as "Dead," but will it really matter to me in the end? My hope is that some of the comments posted on my status will be filled with kind words, but I'm sure others will take the time to not only "like" my status, but also comment on just how glad they are I have come to the end of my earthly life.
A COUPLE OF WEEKS BACK I shared — yes, where else but on Facebook — my intent to have my funeral conducted via Facebook for the reasons mentioned.
Well, the response was incredible. And telling. For one, I received 43 "likes." Again, I don't know if these friends just liked the idea or were immediately appreciative of the fact they wouldn't have to bother going to a service somewhere.
One co-worker, Bob Simmonds, offered to produce a funeral songs list on iTunes. Forward thinking there, and since I've already expressed a desire to have every album Yes ever produced played at my service, people can come and go as they please. For weeks. That being the case, he can also download all the Pink Floyd, Genesis and solo albums Yes band members produced. And yes, Joanne Kellam, some Beach Boys tunes.
Former co-worker Greg Deal offered another great idea for those who don't have the time or don't want to bother taking the time to read a full obit in the newspaper, thanks to Twitter and its 140-character limit: "Richard S. Whiting, lover of newspapers, cigars, family, friends, fine liquors, and witty sarcasm, has died."
Including spaces, that's only 116 characters. I don't know if Greg, the editor he is, was going for brevity even in a Twitter feed or if he figured that's enough said. But it's a great idea and is now part of the plan.
I ALSO SHARED MY INTENTION to be cremated. (Sorry, Don Hiers.) It's not just economics, by the way. I just don't see the sense in using up so much valuable real estate for a burial plot. Scatter me here or there. Newspapers will still be around, so maybe some of my friends will hold me in their hands with their copy of the daily newspaper — provided Judi Burns and family allow some of my ashes to be put in the ink well.
One Facebook friend suggested I have my ashes rolled into a cigar. I'm not so sure about that one as I don't particularly enjoy the taste of a cigar's byproduct myself.
At any rate, perhaps the cremation process — at least the entry into and exit from the fire — would make a nice YouTube addition on my Facebook page.
Marianne Lenti weighed in with another thought altogether, suggesting I would not need to be buried or cremated, just "deleted." Considering the recent tale of a man who supposedly died and was about the be embalmed when he woke up, Marianne's other suggestion might be appropriate. "Do you want the physicians to try a hard reboot before you're deleted?" she asked.
I never did hear back from my minister, Chris Leonard, about the idea. I figured he'd appreciate that he could do a short video clip and post it on my Facebook page without having to make special arrangements at church. Heck, he and the family could be at a Land Rover convention and he could do a 30-second Vine eulogy, post it and not miss a thing.
WE'LL SEE HOW ALL THIS plays out. For now, my status remains "living" and, given the way technology changes, chances are something will have consumed Facebook and my plans will have to change. In the interim, however, if you're reading this and are not my Facebook friend, do look me up and send me a "friend request" now so you'll be ready for the funeral.
And hey, won't it be nice you won't have to get all dressed up for the service? Maybe we'll even Skype a visitation so you can watch from home while relaxing on the couch. In your PJs.
Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-2522; email firstname.lastname@example.org ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.